Starting a business is at the heart of entrepreneurship and the link is very evident — entrepreneurs are simply people who are willing to take the calculated risk to set up a business. The class investigated several case studies of successful businesses, like Starbucks, Apple, IKEA, etc. and did some research on the steps it took for an entrepreneur to start it up and develop it into something hugely successful. I came up with a few generalizations about enterprises and entrepreneurship after some extra research and found that many of these concepts, conceivably, related back to the unit questions and statement of inquiry.
Setting up a business is often a game of risk and reward, as business failure is always a possibility yet making profit is the incentive for many who do take the risk. For a new business to succeed it must prove that it has some sort of competitive advantage over its rivals, so it must devise a unique product that customers would prefer over other businesses’ products. For example, IKEA was successful in becoming one of the largest furniture retailers in the world by changing the average furniture-buyer’s mindset – instead of seeing furniture as an investment, IKEA’s products were designed to wear out and be replaced. People were not at all reluctant in buying IKEA’s products, which always last a good couple of years, and because of its innovation, IKEA paved its way towards success playing a strategic game of chess in much of continental Europe, not to mention North America and Asia. As you can see from this case study, IKEA’s entrepreneur found innovation by changing customers’ mindsets – he started the business because he felt he had come up with a brilliant new idea that would satisfy customers’ needs and win customer loyalty. This therefore relates to the unit question of what drives innovation?
To really stand out from the crowd I learned in class that entrepreneurs must differentiate their products. Apple, for instance, has created a very strong brand image (e.g. iconic logo, adding “i” to the beginning of products, customer loyalty, etc.) and has a unique selling point – many consumers of their products, myself included, associate them with “slickness” and high product quality. These are all competitive factors that make Apple as a business stand out.
Below is the mind map of learned concepts (please see previous posts for a more detailed description of what this is) and how they relate to the unit. This will continue growing as the unit progresses.
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